(Live Review) RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE - Chicago, United Centre (July 12/22)
Review by Mark McQueen
Rage Against The Machine was a bucket list band. I missed them in their prime, and when I heard the main guys were reforming for a tour I got my tickets and was excited.
Then COVID hit and two years went by.
In that time, life and personal tragedy forever altered this experience, but even so, last night the journey culminated and I finally got to witness the amazing Zach de La Rocha, Tim Commerford, Tom Morello, and Brad Wilk doing material largely drawn from the first two albums, Rage Against the Machine and Evil Empire.
Although suffering from an injury to his leg that left Zach unable to stand for long periods, he nevertheless kept his energy level high and his voice (even 30 years later) was not lessened. Nor was the vitriol, contempt, and rage he has for the corrupt in power. Zac shows the decades have not mellowed him even a little as the lyrical admonitions came spitting forth from his mouth like venomous barbs of deific retribution with songs like:
"Bullet in the Head" "Know Your Enemy" "Wake Up" "Township Rebellion" and, of course, the anthemic "Killing in the Name of", these all had a 90% full United Center stomping and rocking throughout.
This is a band unrepentant and still yelling at "us" to open our eyes and not just see what's happening, but act upon it. A Line from Township Rebellion reminded us of the lure to forget and ignore what we see. "They say...Come and play Come and Play...Forget about the Movement."
I was lucky enough to have as my show companion Jack Wilde who not only elevates my stature in her accompaniment, but has a special place in her heart for Rage's message of rebellion against corrupt authority. I am glad I was able to give her the experience of this show and extremely pleased I got to see them myself.
Despite the fervid aggression of the crowd, around the music and chaos of mosh pits crowd surfing and expelling all the energy out into the ether for the band to absorb and send right back in a tide of palpable force, everyone was friendly and nice throughout. No fights, no attitudes, with this crowd it seemed they truly joined in the message "It's Us vs Them." and the moniker flashing ever through the show on the backdrop:
FEAR IS YOUR ONLY GOD!
An enjoyable and certainly cathartic experience. 93/100